Will business pressure blow the immigration cap?

The government’s proposed immigration cap, one of the Conservatives’ flagship policies, seems to be falling apart months before its implementation date. That it has caused tensions within the Coalition is not really surprising. What will most probably kill it, though, is the opposition from business. For example, Anne Fairweather of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation warns of a looming skills shortage in social care. The companies getting ready to bid for public sector contracts will almost certainly want to bring in foreign staff to do some of the work. The conversation will go something like, “Hey Dave, if you want 50 percent off these delivery costs, sort something out on this immigration cap.”

Of course, the biggest firms have already sorted out an exemption. The immigration cap doesn’t apply to in-company transfers, so large corporations can bring in as many of their own people as they want. According to the Telegraph, 70% of in company transfers are from India, from Indian firms like Tata or from Indian subsidiaries of British companies. Indian businesses are already exerting pressure through their government to get the immigration policy watered down further.

The tension between a hardline policy on immigration and pressure from business would have caused rifts in the cabinet even if the Tories were governing alone. No doubt some compromise will be found over the next few months. The cap on immigration, if it is implemented at all, will probably be little more than a token; just enough to allow the Conservatives to claim that a manifesto commitment has been fulfilled.

It was always highly improbable that the immigration cap would apply to the wealthy and influential. That powerful business interests would try to sink the policy was entirely predictable. Remember folks, you read it here first.

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2 Responses to Will business pressure blow the immigration cap?

  1. Pingback: Will business pressure blow the immigration cap? - Rick - Member Blogs - HR Blogs - HR Space from Personnel Today and Xpert HR

  2. john b says:

    Australia’s right-wing opposition party has proposed a drastic cap on immigration. However, because there’s still a vague culture over here of parties doing what they’ve said they’ll do, they’ve had to explain exactly what they plan to do – and the answer is that skilled migrant visas won’t be restricted at all.

    Student visas will supposedly be restricted – but given that Australia’s HE sector, like the UK’s, relies on foreign students as a cash-cow, it’s bloody unlikely that’ll happen either. Which leaves family reunification.

    There’s no sane prospect that Australian citizens will be prevented from bringing their partners here, so all that remains are partners of students and skilled migrants, and non-spouse/kids relatives of citizens (ie “my kids emigrated in Australia so I’d quite like to die there”).

    In other words, the policy boils down to “with no particular economic benefit, let’s be vile to the families of Australian citizens of non-Australian descent”. If that isn’t how the UK one turns out, I’ll be surprised.

    (note: the right-wing opposition party here is known as The Coalition, because the original right-wing party – oddly, called the Liberals – entered into a partnership with a centrist party that killed the centrist party in all but name. Lessons for the UK…?)

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